Round Midnight at the Global Worldwide Headquarters (Thelonious Monk Edition)

First in a series of live music performances the hardwatching staff has enjoyed (via YouTube) at end of day

The hardworking staff has taken to watching music videos before bedtime, so we’ve decided to share some of them with you, in hopes you’ll like them too.

And it’s only fitting we begin with Monk.

Recorded in Norway in 1966 (Thelonious Monk(p) Charlie Rouse(ts) Larry Gales(b) Ben Riley(ds)).



To us, the great thing about Monk was how he played between the notes. Despite his off-kilter music sensibility, though, he was apparently very strict about how his compositions should be performed. And when he retired – early – he said something like, “They don’t play right what I’ve already written. Why should I write more?”

All the sadder for us.

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Quote o’ the Day (Robert Capa War Correspondent Edition)

From the Weekend Wall Street Journal’s Review section:

“For a war correspondent to miss an invasion is like refusing a date with Lana Turner.”

- Robert Capa

Sadly, Lana Turner is dead. H.D.S. Greenway, on the other hand, is very much alive, as is his memoir Foreign Correspondent, reviewed in the Journal by Roger Lowenstein right below Capa’s quote.

When the Going Was Good

When H.D.S. Greenway was hired at Time magazine in 1962, Henry Luce told him to always travel first class. These are words that no reporter is likely to hear again, ever. Mr. Greenway’s memoir, “Foreign Correspondent,” depicts a vanished world. For roughly a half century he covered, variously, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 1.15.19 AMAfghanistan. He saw appalling misery and suffering. He was shot at, shot down, concussed by a bomb. It didn’t seem so then but it was a less hurried, even a more civilized, age—in particular for correspondents. In whatever capital, they crowded the telegraph office to file their stories at the end of the day, then gravitated to a choice restaurant. In Saigon, Greenway lodged in a comfortable room in a French colonial hotel overlooking the opera house. “You could sip your drink and watch the occasional flashes of gunfire in the distance across the river while a little dance band played fox-trots from the fifties.”

Gotta-be-nuts graf:

Mr. Greenway gives a sense of reporting in an era when journalists were truly “correspondents,” sending dispatches to bridge a gap in distance and time. He attentively distinguishes the various cultures of Southeast Asia—Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and, of course, Vietnam. He stayed there until the final day. Amid the chaos, he left with a bundle of clothes and his Olympia typewriter. About to board a chopper out, he was told, “Only one bag.” And then, another great sentence—”Without hesitation I threw away my clothes.”

Along with that piece are Martin Rubin’s review of Margaret Asquith’s Great War Diary, 1914-1916 and Stephen Brumwell’s review of Behind the Front by Craig Gibson.

As those books attest, war correspondents are both special and irreplaceable. Not to mention irrepressible.

See: Robert Capa.

See also: James Foley.

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Dead Blogging ‘Circus’ at RISD Museum

Well the Missus and I trundled down to Providence yesterday to catch Circus at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and, say, it was swell.

For starters, there was the exhibit itself.

The spectacle of the American and European circus takes center stage this summer in Circus—a glimpse into the visual world of this phenomenon during the height of its popularity, 1850 to 1960. Approximately 40 circus-themed paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and posters by artists such as Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec delve into life under the RISD_Museum-Circus-Matisse-Nightmare_White_Elephantbig top and its wider connections to culture and society.

During its heyday, the circus was a site of extreme feats of human physicality and wondrous phenomena. The daring athleticism and grace of acrobats, trick riders, and trapeze artists were featured alongside the often strange and grotesque humor and antics of the clown troupe. Also on display were “human curiosities”—bearded ladies, conjoined twins, sword swallowers, and others—who found a kind of fame in sensationalized sideshows.

The Tissot painting alone was worth the price of admission (which, admittedly, was free for us thanks to some superpass the Missus possesses).


RISDM 58-186


But beyond the exhibit, it was also Design the Night night at RISD, which featured all kinds of circus-related fun, from a “custom circus tent, created by pneumatic art and design studio Pneuhaus (RISD alums Matthew Muller and August Lehrecke),” which, truth be told, was a bit underinflated, to an artist tour with “glamorous guest gallery guide Kristen Minsky—RISD alumna and director of Chifferobe Events and vintage dance company The TropiGals,” who, truth be told, was cute as a button.

There was also this delightful interlude:

Office Hours: Questions From a Clown
Challenging seriousness with silliness, Dizzy the Clown offers tokens of gratification in exchange for conversations about passions and purpose prompted by specific questions. Performed by artist Kylie Why.

And this informative gallery talk:

Exhibition Tour: Circus
Alison Chang, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the RISD Museum’s Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs—and the curator of the new exhibition Circus—leads visitors on a tour of the show.

Not to mention the Hands-On Art workshop in which you could “create your own circus couture – big top chapeaus, collars and cuffs – with provided materials and unlimited creativity” as well as guidance by art instructor Paul Carpentier. (The Missus, truth be told, made a fetching bracelet that was the envy of the assembled throng.)

In other words, a splendid time was guaranteed for all.

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What Do You Want the First Line of Your Obituary to Be?

The hardworking staff found itself reading a variety of obituaries of former Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords yesterday, all of which featured similar ledes.

Washington Post:

James M. Jeffords, the maverick Vermont politician who in 2001 gave Democrats a short-lived majority in the U.S. Senate when he left the Republican Party and declared himself an independent, died Aug. 18 at a retirement residence in Washington. He was 80.

New York Times:

Jim Jeffords, the former senator from Vermont who single-handedly redrew the national political map in 2001 when, after a quarter-century as a moderate Republican lawmaker, he declared himself an independent, shifting control of the Senate to the Democrats, died on Monday in Washington. He was 80.

Wall Street Journal:

Jim Jeffords, the former Vermont senator who single-handedly tipped the balance of power in the Senate in 2001 when he left the Republican Party, has died. He was 80 years old.

Which got us to thinking: What would we like the lede of our obituary to be? (A recently acquired MBTA GeezerCard was also a factor.)

The answer:

John Carroll, a writer in Boston since 1974, loved a blank page.

How about yours?

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Correction o’ the Day (Bald Eagle Poop Edition)

Correction on today’s New York Times op-ed page:

An Op-Ed essay on Monday described bald eagles and ospreys incorrectly. They eat fish, and their poop is white; they do not eat berries and excrete purple feces. (Other birds, like American robins, Eurasian starlings and cedar waxwings, do.)

Of course they do doo.

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Headline o’ the Day (Uber All Is Edition)

From Valley Wag (tip o’ the pixel to Politico Playbook):

People Keep Getting Into Strangers’ Cars Because They Think It’s An Uber

Backtrack story:

Just because Uber’s motto is “Everyone’s private driver,” doesn’t mean every car is yours for the hailing. But the popularity of apps like Uber and Lyft have spawned some awkward curbside interactions. “Basically anytime I’m pulled over on the side of beucvtfnk1xdbdws4iquthe street, someone tries to hail me or just opens my car door,” said tech investor Ashwin Deshmukh, when I asked him about the trend.

“If I pull-up at a food truck in Williamsburg, there will be four guys asking, ‘Can you take us to Long Island?'” Deshmukh blames it partly on tooling around in a 2009 SUV and was told the GPS sitting on his dashboard gives the wrong impression. “It’s kind of immoral to have a car in New York anyways, so I feel like this is my tax for doing that. The best line so far is, ‘Are you Uber? Well can you just be, can we go?'” he said. He is not alone.

But the Uber wisher is, eh?

Quel fromage.

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Time Inc. Writers: Be Advertiser Friendly – Or Else!

The hardtracking staff has noted on numerous occasions Time Inc.’s pimping out its editorial content to advertisers.

Now comes Exhibit Umpteen, via Gawker.

Time Inc. Rates Writers on How “Beneficial” They Are to Advertisers

Time Inc. has fallen on hard times. Would you believe that this once-proud magazine publishing empire is now explicitly rating its editorial employees based on how friendly their writing is to advertisers?

Last year—in the opposite of a vote of confidence—Time uj6pbzioajbbi5hepftmWarner announced that it would spin off Time Inc. into its own company, an act of jettisoning print publications once and for all. Earlier this year, the company laid off 500 employees (and more layoffs are coming soon). And, most dramatically of all, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp now requires his magazine’s editors to report to the business side of the company, a move that signals the full-scale dismantling of the traditional wall between the advertising and editorial sides of the company’s magazines.

The unkindest cut of all? A Time Inc. spreadsheet that ranks writer/editors according to this criterion: “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship . . . ”

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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Ask Dr. Ads: Seriously, Is Tom Steyer Crazy?

[Aditor's note: As you might - or more likely might not - have noticed, Dr. Ads has been (in)conspicuous by his absence over the past several months. We'd rather not get into the details; let's just say he's been under the care of an actual doctor. Yo.]

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, just minding my own business and reading Politico Playbook, when I came across this:

VIDEO DU JOUR – “Tom Steyer’s ads test the boundaries of the ‘bizarre,’” by Darren Goode: “Steyer is trying to sway national climate policy and the midterm elections with an ad campaign that is raising eyebrows among independent fact-checkers, some television stations, his political opponents and even a few allies — using an approach that strikes observers as anywhere from groundbreaking to downright bizarre. … [Chris] Lehane, who wrote much of the ads’ scripts, said they are born from creative sessions after Steyer’s team has identified its target audience and message.”

Have you seen these ads, Doc? I mean, I’m all for combatting climate change, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, eh?

- Al G.

Dear Al G.,

We’re talking about some nutty stuff, even for the Doc. Start out with this TV spot from Steyer’s NextGen Climate advocacy outfit attacking Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni (The Castrator) Ernst.



Really? Is the average TV viewer gonna pay enough attention to that mishmash to get what it’s trying to say? We’re thinking not.

That ad is almost as strange as this spot NextGen ran last year attacking the Keystone XL Pipeline . . .

Read the rest at Ask Dr. Ads.

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NYT Ad/News Vortex (Korean Ferry Disaster Edition)

From our Coincidence Not Irony desk

Sunday’s New York Times featured this collision of viewpoints on last April’s South Korean ferry tragedy that took hundreds of young lives.

First, this full-page ad on Page 5 (New England Edition).


Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.05.32 AM


Then, this Page 10 piece about Pope Francis’ visit to South Korea which “thrilled” the country’s Catholics but “unsettled” South Korean Protestants.

Make ‘em nuts graf:

Although tensions between South Korea’s Catholics and Protestants are not new, the pope’s visit has brought into focus the often ugly rivalry between churches vying for hearts and souls in South Korea. It also comes as the country is still reeling from accusations by prosecutors that the pastor of a relatively small Christian church siphoned money from the company whose ferry sank in April, killing more than 200 teenagers.

Coincidentally, that connection also popped up in the Sunday column of Boston Globe Cathoholic Czar John L. Allen Jr.

On four occasions, Francis met family members of the victims of an April ferry disaster off the South Korean coast that left more than 300 dead, mostly high school students on a field trip. The disaster has sparked national outrage and angry demands for an independent criminal probe.

Francis wore a pin of a yellow ribbon on his papal cassock symbolizing solidarity, and even baptized the father of a victim, a Korean man named Lee Ho-Jin – who promptly took the baptismal name “Francis” in the pope’s honor.

That’s nice – but it’s not exactly a call for justice.

Expect more to come on this particular vortex.

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I Just Saw an SUV Repo’d – or Stolen – Next Door (Take 2)

Actually, it was neither.

Yesterday I noted that a silver SUV had been hooked up and hauled away from the parking lot next door in a midnight tow truck trawl.

I subsequently quizzed two older gents in said parking lot about the SUV snatch and they told me that a towing service comes by every night to make sure all the vehicles in the lot have a proper parking sticker.

So there’s that.

In my defense, I’m a nightly habitué of the back porch and I’ve never seen a tow truck come around before (including last night) in the two months I’ve lived here.

So there’s that.

Regardless, the interloper got towed away and it SUVs him right.

As for the rest, never mind.

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